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MPs want audit on IEBC top officials’ foreign trips

Economy

MPs want audit on IEBC top officials’ foreign trips


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MR WAFULA CHEBUKATI, THE IEBC CHAIR. FILE PHOTO | NMG

A section of MPs is demanding an independent audit to determine the expenditure incurred by top electoral agency officials who are claimed to have undertaken expensive trips abroad after the contested August 9 General Election.

Azimio la Umoja allied MPs said the audit on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will determine the expenditure that chairman Wafula Chebukati, commissioners Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu and chief executive Marjan Hussein have spent on foreign trips.

Minority leader Opiyo Wandayi said the top officials have been undertaking endless trips to foreign capitals after the Supreme Court ruling that upheld the election of President William Ruto in September.

The opposition lawmakers said the special audit will establish IEBC expenditure after the conclusion of the polls and action be taken where crimes have been committed.

They said the international trips awarded to a selected group of staff without the approval of the commission Plenary by Mr Chebukati and Mr Marjan were being used to earn per diem.

The lawmakers claimed that the top leadership of the IEBC was involved in questionable activities abroad.

The MPs said at the time President Ruto had ordered ministries to cut costs to save Sh300 billion in the current budget, Mr Chebukati, Mr Guliye, Mr Molu, Mr Marjan and other top members of the management team are travelling without restriction.

“We demand that an independent audit be undertaken to establish expenditures incurred particularly after the conclusion of the 2022 General Election and action taken where crime has been committed,” Mr Wandayi said at a press conference in Parliament.

They want Mr Chebukati, commissioner Guliye, and Molu whose term ends in January to steer clear of the commissions business “with immediate effect” and proceed on terminal leave ahead of their retirement.

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The MPs said the IEBC top management appeared to be on a spending spree in a scheme that looked like “a reward to those who ensured elections went a particular and pre-determined way.”

“For over three weeks, IEBC CEO Mr Marjan and Mr Chebukati have been away, travelling to South Africa, Malaysia, Dubai, USA and Angola with the value of their travels in the dying days of their tenure unknown,” Mr Wandayi said.

“Between the months of September and November alone, millions of shillings have been gobbled up by a select group within the commission. IEBC staff from chairman to CEO and directors are globe-trotting on trips at taxpayers’ expense.”

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The opposition lawmakers claimed that for over three weeks, Mr Marjan, deputy CEO of Support Services and several directors, including those for finance, legal affairs, and ICT, have had long stays in Dubai for undisclosed training.

“The foreign trips that are awarded selectively are running alongside selective and illegal promotions, again favouring those who ensured that elections went in a particular direction,” they said in a statement.

The MPs want the IEBC to rescind all decisions made without the participation of the Plenary be rescinded, including the printing of ballot papers for by-elections and illegal promotions.

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